Minutes: November 24, 2008

Meeting of the RESOURCE PLANNING & PRIORITIES COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Monday, November 24, 2008 at 3:10 p.m. in Ante Room 3129, South Building.

Present: A. Wensley; D. Kreuger; P. Goldsmith; D. Crocker; R. Reisz; I. Orchard; J.P. Paluzzi; V. Barzda; N. Collins;

Regrets: A. Fleming; G. Averill; N. Basiliko; M. Tombak;

Guests: D. Mullings; J. Summers; C. McGrath; B. McFadden; C. Graham; M. Overton; C. Bryson;

Call to order:

1. Approval of the Minutes of the previous meeting (October 20, 2008).
The minutes were approved: I. Orchard and P. Goldsmith

2. Reports of Committees and Officers.

a.) Paull Goldsmith, Director, Facilities Management & Planning, reported on the Storm Water Management Pond.

The Storm Water Management Pond is 95% complete. The pond was built as a water quality measure which purifies and filters the water. The landscaping needs seeding and sodding which is to be done in spring. The bowl was intended to take the landfill from the pond so the campus saved a lot of money on the disposal of the landfill by keeping it on site. Curbs are being installed in the parking lot. The landscape architects will be in next week to go over the final details.

The Chair opened the floor to questions:

  • A member noted that the centre of the hill is higher than the rest, so if the field was to be used for sports events the balls may roll off it, but it is ideal location for general use. P. Goldsmith explained that once the landscaping is completed, it should be much more hospitable. The trees are thinner than expected, but the younger trees have a greater likelihood of survival than transplanted older trees.

b.) Ciaran Graham, Budget & Planning Manager, Business Services, provided the ancillary services status reports and preliminary figures.

The ancillary budget status report has preliminary figures which will be changing, (handout).

Conference Services operating results are forecasted to be approximately $100,000 higher than planned for 2008/09, due to a number of groups that had not committed to UTM early enough last year to be include in the budget. These groups did confirm later in the year. A couple of new groups were secured to offset the loss of the groups that did not commit to UTM.

Food Services has a positive closing balance forecasted for 2009/10. The price of meal plans will likely increase by 2.3% in 2009/10. The average increase in Ontario universities is expected to be 4%. The group B minimum plan will increase by $300 as the students have been running out of money and they will be eligible for a GST exemption. Food Services has planned the replacement of equipment in Spigel Hall for 2009/10.

Residence deficit is decreasing but will have a surplus for 2010/11. The residence fees will increase 5% as per the previous budget plan. Occupancy rates have been forecasted at 98%.

Parking has a small surplus this year but has forecasted a deficit. The revenues are down and expenses have increased due to paving lot 2 and the addition of snow removal. A new permit will likely be introduced that will be slightly more expensive.

The Chair opened the floor to questions:

  • A member inquired about parking fees. C. Graham indicated that he expects rates to be basically the same. The only significant fee increase is likely to be with respect to the Food Services’ minimum plan. That increase will be based on a study of usage patterns which determined that this increase would actually benefit students. They would also be eligible for GST exemption and this would be a saving to the students in the long run.
  • D. Mullings informed the committee that Residence anticipates an increase in the local renting market from 0-1% with substantial vacancies. The current residence budget proposes 5% increase. Mullings expects Residence to reconsider how to best accommodate the effect the current economic situation is having on students, yet to do so within the SARG requirements and university policy.
  • In response to a question about how Residence is ensuring the quality of the residences, especially in graduate/family housing, Mullings explained that a few things have been happening like holding regular committee meetings four times a year. They have met with graduate student and family residences on developing programming. A review of the facilities was done in 2004 and there are projected plans in place. Another review should be done in December for next year’s budget. There will be a full-time maintenance person responsible for preventative maintenance. They are working to actively help tenants as per under the tenant protection act. A member noted that there have been far fewer complaints and some kudos coming from graduate students with respect to residences.

3. There were two items of new business that have been brought forward.

A) Ian Orchard, Vice-President & Principal, presented a motion to rename the South Building.

I. Orchard explained that when the campus renamed the CCT building some years ago the William G. Davis name was raised by many people. It was not possible at the time to name the CCT building after William G. Davis, as he was a sitting member of Governing Council. His term ended in June 2008 and numerous individuals met with the Principal to inquire if there might be a way to honour William G. Davis. A distributed memo outlined the historic relationship the campus has had with William G. Davis, who formally opened this campus when he was Premier. Since then, he has been active in the community with University of Toronto. The University anticipates using the re-naming of the South Building to help raise $5M which will be used offset the price of the south building renovations. A number of key campaign people are already on board and working behind the scenes in support of this fundraising campaign. Then with the alumni matching campaign and the student experience fund of $1M the University hopes to raise a total of $12M for the renovations.

Be it Resolved THAT Erindale College Council recommend to Governing Council that the South Building be named "The William G. Davis Building." (I. Orchard; P. Goldsmith)

A member noted that he would endorse the motion, and he noted that while we have also named buildings after Oscar Peterson and Hazel McCallion, he hoped that future building namings might consider more diverisiy.

A member asked why “The” in the building title. I. Orchard moved to amend the motion to remove the “The”. The friendly amendment was seconded by P. Goldsmith.

Revised motion:

Be it Resolived THAT Erindale College Council recommend to Governing Council that the South Building be named the "William G. Davis Building."

APPROVED. Unanimously.

B) At the Erindale College Council meeting in April 2008, a member raised the question as to how the campus decides which food establishments are to remain open during the summer season. At that Council meeting it was agreed that RPPC would call upon the Director, Hospitality & Retail Operations to report on this process.

Bill McFadden explained that essentially Food Services is looking to cover their costs, and if they can they’ll stay open. The North Building, Coleman, Spigel Hall, do not stay open during the Summer months because their revenues would not cover their labour costs. Over the summer Conference Services handles some the establishments to generate revenues, rather than being open for UTM Community. Summer service was expanded this past summer. Chartwells is committed to keeping Starbucks open which is almost breaking-even. On-The-GO was open this summer and was fairly successful. Booster-Juice is expected to stay open next summer. Mike's Dog House the hot dog vendor stays open until June but then even he closes due to lack of customers. There’s just not a lot of business on campus in the summer.

A member inquired as to why StarBucks does not open at the same time as the library opens. McFadden explained that Chartwells watches the sales based on every 15 minutes. The labour costs are examined hour by hour and compared to the sales. If there isn’t enough business to open, they don’t open. He suggested that perhaps Chartwells may be working with old assumptions and there is seasonality to these things where trends can change.

A member noted that customer service issues can be a problem at the food establishments on campus. McFadden explained that Chartwells is experiencing difficulty attracting, keeping, and retaining good staff and Tim Hortons is suffering from this.

A member voiced concern that the food services monopoly is the big problem, and suggested that if small businesses were in place and competing, then quality would increase. McFadden explained that this model has been tested at other Ontario universities, and has failed miserably. In this model, operating efficiencies are impossible to achieve and the vendors all reduce their hours. It has been proven not to work when there are too many people trying to operate. The overhead is high and if bourne by a large number of operations then they can not achieve profitability.

The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.

The next meeting of Resource Planning and Priorities Committee will be on January 19, 2009.